Jude Bellingham transfer latest: Klopp denies talks as Liverpool boss aims to avoid breaking FIFA rules

Jude Bellingham warms up ahead of the UEFA Champions League group G match at Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund, Germany Credit: Alamy
Jude Bellingham warms up ahead of the UEFA Champions League group G match at Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund, Germany Credit: Alamy

Jurgen Klopp has issued a rebuttal of claims that Liverpool have been speaking to Jude Bellingham, despite admitting the midfielder is on their radar.

Bellingham is one of the biggest names Liverpool have been looking at in their search for new midfielders. If the England international is to return to his native country from German side Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool could be one of his likeliest takers.

They would have to spend heavily in order to get him, though. What’s more, there is competition from across Europe, with Real Madrid among his main admirers too.

However, Liverpool retain some hope that they can be Bellingham’s next club. In fact, there have been some reports that they have held talks with the 19-year-old’s family about bringing him to Anfield.

Those claims, though, have now been shut down by the Liverpool manager, Klopp.

The German tactician has explained why it is simply “not possible” for them to be in talks for Bellingham now, while acknowledging they would be “stupid” not to be interested in him.

“Jude is a great player who we know, of course,” Klopp told Sport Bild.

“We’d be stupid not to have him on our radar. But there’s nothing more to say at the moment.

“These things are not possible because he is under contract with Borussia Dortmund and that is not possible without their consent. So, it’s not true.”

Dortmund have Bellingham under contract until 2025, having signed him from Birmingham City in 2020. Since his move there, the midfielder has amassed 112 appearances, 19 goals and 21 assists.

There would be an obvious space for Bellingham to take if he was to join Liverpool. Their midfield has come under serious scrutiny this season after being neglected in recent transfer windows.

Jude Bellingham could upgrade Liverpool midfield – if they play their cards right

First and foremost, James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will reach the end of their contracts in June. At the same time, Arthur Melo’s forgettable loan spell from Juventus will finish.

The problem with those that will remain are that they are either too young or too old. Harvey Elliott, Curtis Jones and Fabio Carvalho all have potential but must develop further to reach the necessary standard.

At the other end of the spectrum, Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara are already in the twilights of their careers. An out-of-form Fabinho isn’t too far behind.

Hence, they need to evolve their options in the department. Although Bellingham is actually younger than Elliott, Jones and Carvalho, he has better pedigree at the top level thanks to his efforts with Dortmund over the past few seasons.

He is also established as a senior England international, unlike the aforementioned trio who remain at under-21 level on that stage.

Therefore, there is little doubt that Bellingham would be a major upgrade on what Liverpool have. Whether they can be more convincing than the likes of Real Madrid is another matter.

Speaking to Bellingham and his entourage may be necessary at some stage to set out their plans. But Klopp is keen to play by the rules, potentially bearing in mind how Liverpool almost scuppered their signing of Virgil van Dijk with an illegal approach to the player in the summer of 2017.

They had to wait until January 2018 to bring the defender in. His impact after was obvious, but perhaps they could have had him for six months more.

The threat of missing out on Bellingham seems too big to run the risk of breaking any further rules. It seems Klopp may have learned some lessons from the past, although the final objective is the same – to sign someone who could vastly improve an important area of his lineup.

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